The power of agility in uncertain times – An interview with Mathieu Nidegger, COO of Cube Operating Concept

  • Thomas Botton

Agile working methods and close collaboration with colleagues enabled the launch of a new 100% digital Swiss telephone operator, despite the colossal back-end challenges this involved.

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Mathieu Nidegger, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Cube, can you describe what this new Swiss operator’s digital landscape was like at the end of November 2018 before you contacted Liip?

We were right at the beginning of the project with everything still left to organise. We had just signed the partnership contract with a mobile network operator that would form the foundation of Cube. Our digital landscape in November 2018 was non-existent. Therefore, we had to find a digital partner with the ability and skills to realise our goals of creating a website, an e-commerce platform and a mobile app.

You decided to contact Liip at the end of December 2018. What made you reach out? What challenges were you facing?

From the start of the Cube project, we knew we had to find a serious and competent partner that would add value to the project. As a newcomer to the world of telephony, we had to offer an innovative experience and set ourselves apart from traditional providers. Digitalisation is at the core of our business model, which made partnering with Liip a particularly strategic move.

The main challenge for us was choosing the right partner from the array of digital service providers available. The key factors in our decision-making process were recommendations from our professional network (Liip was recommended to me by members of my network), Liip’s reputation, the proximity to the customer, and its presence in German-speaking Switzerland.

‘Our decision to work with Liip was based on Liip's excellent reputation, which was confirmed by ournetwork.’ – Mathieu Nidegger, COO Cube

How did the first few months of working on the Cube project with Liip go?

The first workshops took place at the end of 2018 / the beginning of 2019. The Liip team did an excellent job leading the workshops. We started with a project that needed a framework; together, we defined the project’s scope. And to better identify the customers’ needs, user interviews were conducted. These allowed us to refine our business model using field data.

We quickly started developing the mobile app. At this point, major challenges with our IT infrastructure became apparent.

It became clear to all of us that the mobile app was just the tip of the iceberg and that work needed to be done on the IT infrastructure further upstream. What was your take on these issues? Can you tell us about those difficult few months?

The technical challenges we were facing were caused by not having someone with the skills we needed in the IT department at Cube, highlighting how much we needed to work with Liip.

Not having an internal infrastructure specialist during this period made it clear we had underestimated this part of the development process. We had to develop all of our digital tools at the same time: both the website (Liip) and the mobile app (Liip) as well as the ERP (with camptocamp) and the various connectors between the different platforms.

The obstacles we encountered with this caused a number of inconveniences, time-wise and financially. However, Liip supported us throughout this challenging period, sometimes even taking on the role of project manager and coordinating the development work with camptocamp.

‘We really felt as though the Liip team acted like they were a part of Cube, in terms of the dynamic way they led the project, the operational support they provided and also their flexibility when it came to the financials.’ – Mathieu Nidegger, COO Cube

Can you give us an example from the project that is the most representative of Liip’s agile approach to work, in your opinion?

When we needed to develop everything on a just-in-time basis, Liip coordinated the development of the front-end and back-end tools in collaboration with camptocamp.

Looking back on your journey today (the project is live!), what do you take away? Would you do anything differently?

If we were to do it all again, I would definitely make sure to have an internal resource dedicated entirely to implementing the project. This would have perhaps allowed us to have a better idea of our needs when we started the project.

But collaborating with Liip worked extremely well, and the work completed was of very high quality. As a result, we made faster progress than if we had had to recruit a CTO first. But this also inevitably had an effect on the amount invested in the project.

Naturally, our ideas were challenged more because we were working with Liip, but this was a very positive approach.

And finally, how would you describe your collaboration with Liip in three words?

Efficient, transparent and professional. Oh, and enjoyable too!

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